Romance explains the most fun aspect of KOF, community reception of the latest game and why YOU should be playing it in this exclusive interview

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • February 21, 2017 at 7:45 p.m. PST

With a pair of King of Fighters 13 top 8 appearances at EVO and more tournament wins than he's cared to keep track of, Ramon "Romance" Navarrete Valencia is one of the world's most notable KOF players.

King of Fighters 14 dropped in August of last year, and has seen enough popularity to garner a spot on the EVO 2017 line up, but Romance feels the latest entry in SNK's long running series has more to offer potential players, if they'd just give it the chance.

We were lucky enough to sit down with the Mexican player, (he now lives in Southern California, and plans to make a big move to Las Vegas soon) to talk about the KOF community's transition to the latest title, and why it's so enjoyable as a fighter.

Raptor:What's the most fun thing about playing this game?

Romance: I love that people's skill truly shows through in their play. You can be really creative with mind games and such, and you are rewarded based on the amount of time you put in. It's not as simple as other games, but it can be more rewarding as a result.
Raptor: There's almost always some hesitation and growing pains when it comes to a new title in an established franchise, how has the community received KOF14?

Romance: It's actually a bit rough with the community, since the mechanics are not the same as the previous game in the series. A lot of people love KOF13, and I actually love that game because it gave me so many friends and good times, but I still have to go through the transitions and some of the mechanics take time to adjust to.

For that reason -- the mechanics not being easy to adapt to -- there has been somewhat of a community divide. Players outside of Japan were complaining about the KOF World Championship being a FT1 set up, but I ended up accepting it since Japan's scene comes out to EVO and accepts our rule set.

After these recent events and King of Fighters 14's latest patches, the community is starting to agree on things more and we are recovering players, making the KOF scene stronger step-by-step. The KOF World Championship was really healthy for the game, and the content SNK revealed at the end was the best way to close out the event! Specifically the DLC characters.

The game's graphics look nice, and as you know King of Fighters 14 is a hard game that will bring international competition to any tournament. I can't wait for the EVO 2017 finals, and I hope my KOF friends and I will get the chance to go to more events and show the hype that the US scene needs. Hopefully we can attract some eSports teams soon.

Raptor: Which players should I watch (besides yourself, of course) to get a good idea of how the game should be played?

Romance: Hmm, I'll say Juice Box and KCO|Pedro.

Romance shared the following video of his top 8 performance at SoCal Regionials 2016. He and Reynald kick off the final bracket, and then he plays again at the 57:00 mark:

Source: LevelUpSeries.

Raptor: There's been a lot of discussion about current generation fighting games reaching both casual and competitive audiences. Do you think KOF 14 appeals to both? Or does it lean in one direction too heavily?

Romance: To me, 14 is for both, but slightly more competitive simply because some parts of the game are not super easy and you have to put effort and time. I also think that stronger players really need to step in and help newcomers with this title.

I think about one third of the community are still hung up on the newer mechanics, but complaining instead of adapting is not helping anything.

I'm trying to stream and share my knowledge as much as I can. When I was learning Street Fighter 4, it was the SoCal players' help and guidance that made all the difference. I want to offer that same guidance to any new KOF players.

Raptor: Why should I, (someone who doesn't play much) pick up the game in your opinion?

Romance: The time you put in really shows in your play. King of Fighters 14 is an honest game, and will help you with almost all the individual aspects of fighting game play like defense, execution and reactions.

This game is legit and can help a lot of players. Transition from KOF to other games is especially easy because you have to learn fundamentals really well to be good at it.

Romance is currently a free agent, streams regularly on his Twitch channel, and is more than happy to answer any and all questions newcomers may have.

We'd like to extend a special thank you to Roman for his thoughts and time.
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